PokerStars has been staging its World Championship of Online Poker for seven years now. The site first launched in September 2001 -- gawd, could that be true? -- and the first WCOOP, a series of nine events, took place in July 2002. The “big one” that year was a $1,000+$50 no-limit hold’em tourney that attracted 238 entrants.
The series has gotten bigger and bigger each year, with last September’s WCOOP involving 33 events, culminating with the two-day, $5,000+$200 buy-in Main Event that attracted 2,185 players, creating a prize pool of over $10 million.
Shortly after last fall’s series, Stars decided they were going to run a spring series this time, too -- the Spring Championship of Online Poker -- which finally begins today. There will be 22 events over the next 11 days, with all 22 featuring “low,” “medium,” and “high” stakes versions of the tournaments that will run simultaneously.
For example, this afternoon things kick off at 2:30 p.m. Eastern time with Event No. 1, the Short-Handed No-Limit Hold’em with Rebuys event. The “low” version of the tourney has a $5.00+$0.50 buy-in (with $5 for rebuys & the add-on). The “medium” version is $50+$5. And the “high” version $500+$30. The three versions of Event No. 2, a pot-limit O/8 event, starts at 4:30 p.m. ET.
Oh, and get this: as an indication of how much the series has grown, all but one of the “high” stakes versions of the 22 events have buy-ins of at least $1,000+$50 (i.e., what it cost to enter the Main Event way back in 2002). Just Event No. 1 -- which is a rebuy event -- has a lower buy-in.
Last night I saw there were almost 16,000 entered into the “low” version of Event No. 1, suggesting this here little twist has proven pretty popular already. It’s a terrific idea, I think, to try to get us small timers involved. Speaking of, when I was looking at the tourney page last night I happened to notice the various satellites running for the sucker, and just for grins I jumped into one of the 35 FPP ones which awarded a single seat.
I think I might’ve played exactly one tournament all year, actually, one of those multi-table thingies for Silver Stars. So I have to admit my tourney instincts are pretty raw at the moment. I sat tight for most of the early stages of the single-table turbo, watching others give their chips to the only guy at the table who appeared willing to show any aggression at all. Was also vaguely distracted for a short while by American Idol, specifically when that Lady GaGa came on to do her big hit “Poker Face” which I felt obligated to watch for obvious reasons. (Don’t ask me what the hell that’s all about.)
Anyhow, I did win a couple of smallish pots here and there, meaning I had around 1,500 or so once we reached four-handed. That made me the short stack, but a fortuitious hand came up in which I was dealt , ended up all in preflop against two others, and a couple of aces happily rolled out to triple me up (they had K-Q and Q-J).
Soon enough I was heads up against the aggro guy, with him having around a 2-to-1 chip advantage. I started returning fire, and after he’d folded to a couple of my reraises I’d grabbed the lead. Ended up pushing with Q-10, he called me with J-9, my hand held up, and I won the seat.
Then I remembered I can’t make the start of the tourney this afternoon, so I unregistered. Looking over the rest of the schedule, I might try to win some more W$ and jump into a different SCOOP event later on. Or just play another one for a small discount.
There are lots of ways to satellite in. Or buy your way in with FPPs, too. Click here to see the full schedule and maybe pick yrself a spot to play along. And if somehow you have read all this and haven’t downloaded PokerStars and gotten an account, you can click here to take care of that.
I’ll be helping some with the coverage of SCOOP over on the recently revamped PokerStars blog, joining my buds Otis, Spaceman, F-Train, Change100, Tuscaloosa Johnny, Drizztdj, and California Jen. (I think that’s everyone.) So if you do decide to play, I might be watching.
That’s another cool side to SCOOP -- make a final table and get famous!